The tram wends its way through the jungle of apartment blocks, a mother and child walk hand in hand along Coolsingel. Rotterdam is amazing when you observe the city from ‘Op het dak’. At ground level, the city can be intimidating; rough and hard viewed through the vast expanse of triple glazed windows, prefab concrete and steel structures. The Rotterdam that threatens to turn into stone seems far away when I have lunch, surrounded by greenery, on the seventh floor of the Schieblock.
It’s not widely advertised, but the guests who do take the trouble to review the restaurant with its ‘beautiful, slightly wild garden’ praise it as their ‘real highlight of Rotterdam’. It is indeed a breath of fresh air to have lunch with friend and housemate Ramon among the edible flowers and urban bees. When I squint into the midday sun, all the floral dresses and hipster shirts on the terrace seem to blend into the flowers surrounding us.
Fresh and sustainable
The dishes on the menu are equally colourful through the use of vegetables from their own garden, so that nearly everything is fresh and vegan, or at least vegetarian. The roasted pumpkin & fluffy flatbread, season salad bowl and the locally brewed beer taste good and suit the peaceful, sustainable atmosphere here. The raw lunch takes us back to our short-lived vegetarian period, which was based on a mix of idealism, fitness schedules and love. Since then, we’ve been eating less meat, I suffer from an incurable humus addiction and Ramon puts away several kilos of couscous every week.
A green oasis in a concrete jungle
The fresh and sustainable food, the view, the flowers and the floral dresses are certain to draw us back some time. An afternoon ‘Op het dak’ is slightly expensive for a student, say around twenty euros per person, but for that money you exchange the concrete jungle for a green oasis.
I don’t advise anyone planning an evening of cocktails in the Schieblock to seek them higher up. In that case, line your stomach with a kebab from round the corner and then wait patiently until the birds and the bees descend to the BAR on ground level.